They call me Pop, Pop Isaiah actually.
I write this highly opinionated column on all things Isaiah. I used to be a scholar, researcher, and a bit of a writer. I say “used to be” because I don’t have time and patience for that anymore, and I don’t get paid enough. (I do backlinks, but I don’t do footnotes!) I’m also retired, which is the ultimate form of tenure.
I admit I am LDS… mostly. I sit in the back of what used to be the High Priests group and try to keep my mouth shut, but it still gets me in trouble a lot. It’s funny, they don’t ask me to teach gospel doctrine or priesthood much anymore. Why? I don’t have patience with watered down, second-hand thinking and especially precepts of men. Still, I know this wonderful gospel is true, gets truer every day in fact. I’m doing my best to avoid the 7 steps to apostasy found in 2 Nephi 28:24-31 (just follow the 7 “wo’s” to see where they lead).
So cut me some slack, and I’ll do the same for you.
I spent a lot of my formative time on the east coast in my liberal years, but I’m a bit of a political hybrid now. Like Mitt Romney, I admit I’ve flip-flopped a bit. I don’t claim either the right or the left, don’t see much use. I’m a self-proclaimed millennial revolutionary. I’m waiting for the return of the only leader I ultimately choose to follow, and He is going to change everything, so I’m not getting too tied to what we currently have. The last election let me know we don’t have a lot of options in Washington. Where are the statesmen and stateswomen in the field of politicians? Where are the Captain Moroni’s who clean a little house? That’s right, I said it. I’m tired of wading through this political correctness charade, so I choose not to. I figure if Clayton Christensen calls PC a doctrine of Satan, that’s good enough for me.
Pop Isaiah is my perfect job, so please don’t screw it up. My boss has already had a few requests to fire me and I’m just getting started. I promise you won’t be bored. And I’m looking for some sharp thinking gladiators to meet me on the field of words, opinions, and ideas! We have to stay proper though, and civil.
Isaiah has been an all-absorbing passion of mine, especially lately when I finally have time to really roll up my sleeves and search his words diligently. I spend a lot of time each week in the temple, every day in the Book of Mormon, and specifically, the Isaiah chapters of the Book of Mormon.
You see, I’m enthralled with solving a puzzle.
I love to call it Nephi’s Journey.
You are invited to join me if you choose. I don’t think many (if any) of the Scholars have figured it out. Their disciplines don’t allow them to I’m afraid. You don’t get peer-reviewed articles approved in scholarly journals for aiming at the main idea, the relevant, the practical. You have to be unique, and almost irrelevant because the ultimate rule in force is ‘publish or perish,’ and relevance and practicality don’t help that, even at BYU. If I’m wrong, please correct me. A blog is easy to change.
Pop Isaiah Loves Nephi’s Journey
I believe that Nephi and his brother Jacob were trying to tell us something. Or at least they were trying to warn their descendants.
I mean, think about it.
Lehi sees a vision of Jerusalem on fire and is told to leave. He sends his sons back three times for the brass plates, oh, and the women. (Smart men!) Nephi is even commanded by the Lord to kill a wicked man to secure the sacred scriptures. Every step of the way most of them murmur and complain, even Lehi! And mother Sariah!
So the Lord lets them wander in the wilderness for eight years… EIGHT YEARS! When I Google it, they could have made it through the Arabian Peninsula in eight months.
I think the Lord was trying to teach them something. What did they need to learn that took them eight years?
Lehi saw the Tree of Life in vision, and then Nephi asked to see it and to have angelic help so he could figure it out. Which he did! (Hint: That Iron Rod is REALLY important!) Imagine, a vision so important it is recorded twice by Mormon on plates made of gold, and then even explained it.
I think so.
But Poor Laman and Lemuel never figured it out; in fact, they just kept descending further down the steps of apostasy to where they were willing to commit the murder of their own brother, several times! All while Nephi becomes so righteous that he sees Christ. And then he is allowed to see what happens to his descendants, spoiler alert. (They contend with and kill each other until they get destroyed.) Did he want to warn them? And us? Is the new pope a Jesuit?
Then Nephi actually sees the same revelation of the last days that John saw, but he was forbidden to tell us. Did he want to? Yes! So what did he do next?
HE INSERTED ISAIAH.
Yup, that’s it. He let Isaiah do it. In code. Yeah, it’s hard to figure out, but for a reason.
Think about it. Why is Isaiah inserted by Nephi, in what looks like a totally random way, after the very point where he couldn’t say more?
And then why does Nephi’s brother Jacob quote Isaiah through most of the book of 2nd Nephi?
It must be VERY important.
Let’s find out. I think I’m starting to get it. I can’t just tell you. Christ didn’t command us to search diligently for other people. But we can give each other clues, and share some great tools.
The Pop Isaiah Job Description
I’m told my Pop Isaiah job description is to make you think and get you to actually search diligently the words of Isaiah. Those were the very words that Christ used as he commanded us to do so. In fact, it’s the only book of any scripture in which He did, therefore it must be VERY important.
Oh, and no more making a meal out of other people’s vomit. That’s what Isaiah calls it (other people’s half-digested regurgitated thoughts on what they think Isaiah is trying to tell us.) In other words, you won’t see me relying a lot on any scholarly commentaries… It’s time to think for ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, Pop Isaiah will definitely steal a scholars ideas if they are really good (with an occasional backlink, but never a footnote, I’m on strike!) But I will call them out if they are missing the torchlight of truth and are merely illuminating the pathway with mere sparks (also what Isaiah warns us about.) Can you tell I have some problems with what modern day scholarship has turned into? Even at our own BYU? I admit I’m biased.
With my health, I doubt that God will keep me here much longer during what is clearly the last days. Too bad, it’s getting rather exciting. During my nearly seven decades of living, I have seen enough end-time prophecies become fulfilled, especially recently, to make me pretty worried and excited for the rest of you.
I invite you to lay down the gauntlet and call me out with comments and share your best thinking in a spirit of radical candor. In other words, be blunt, because I will be, and yes, I will respond!
If you notice fulfillment of prophecies related to Isaiah, the latest gossip or scuttlebutt, spelling problems, breaking news I don’t know about, or some really stupid arguments I make, I invite you to send them to me privately at PopIsaiah@aol.com. My boss is pretty adamant about me staying civil, so please do the same. And sorry, sometimes you can’t fix stupid!
Pop Isaiah may be a little slow (and slow responding), but I’ll catch up and get back to you eventually. If you send me some really great content privately, I’ll probably post it publicly and take credit for it, but I will (or won’t) use your name if you specifically ask me to.
I’m warning you up front, I tend to stoke the fire: it keeps me warm. – Pop
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